Team New Zealand skipper, Dean Barker reports on the preliminaries for the Extreme 40 series in Oman, UAE
Today we had three practice races as our final prep for the racing tomorrow. We sailed in a very difficult 6-12 knot onshore breeze which had big holes and shifts.
We were initially battling in our setup and felt a bit off the pace but after making a few small changes felt more comfortable in the final race of the day. The boats require a lot of tuning and the techniques vay dramatically from boat to boat. In this multi racing the gains and losses are exaggerated with the distance you can gain or lose.
Racing starts tomorrow at 2pm so hopefully we can be a little better for pace. Still a lot to learn!
Four current or former America's Cup Teams are entered in the series, including two, two-time winners of the trophy. From the official website:
Three practice races were staged today with wins going to Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, Artemis Racing and Team New Zealand. Not all the teams took part in all the races so its difficult to view the results as true pre-start indicators. Terry Hutchinson and his Artemis Racing crew posted a third and a first whilst Luna Rossa improved on their seventh place in the first race to score a second and a third.
Dean Barker, skipper Team New Zealand: 'We feel a little bit on the back foot at the moment because a lot of the teams, even the new teams, have put in a huge amount of time already with different training camps, but we made a decision not to do it and we may pay for that a little bit initially. But then hopefully as the season progresses we’ll close the gap as we go. We know if we sail well and don’t make any big mistakes we can be very competitive. It’s the same for the other teams and if you make a mistake you get punished pretty badly for it.'
Dean Barker is also a Director of Nexus Marine